Surgery for Men

Our society places a high value on looking young and fit. Today, men of all ages and all walks of life are requesting plastic surgery to keep the look that they had when younger or to change a feature they think is out of place. Redundancies and divorce are also triggers for men seeking surgery.

The types of surgery available for men include:

Nose reshaping, hair transplants, gynecomastia (male breast reduction),facelifts, liposuction, penis enlargement, pectoral and calf implants, laser treatment, tummy tucks.

The surgeon you choose will be very important. Make sure that he or she is a Qualified Plastic Surgeon.

Your surgeon will evaluate your health, conduct a physical exam, take pre-operative photographs, and explain which surgical techniques are most appropriate for you. You’ll discuss the type of anaesthesia to be used, the type of facility where the surgery will be performed, the possible risks, and the costs involved

Nasal Surgery: Nasal surgery for men is performed the same way as for women. For details, see the nasal surgery information page.

Facelift: If you are planning a facelift or neck surgery, your doctor will evaluate your entire head-face-neck region. Is the hairline receding? How full are the sideburns? Does the beard-growing skin extend up the cheeks or down the neck? Are there facial scars? Is the skin sun-damaged? Is the neck skin loose or drooping?

In general, it’s known that male facial skin has a richer blood supply than female facial skin. Male faces bleed more during surgery and are at greater risk for forming a temporary collection or pooling of blood under the skin, called a hematoma, after surgery.

Also, any scarring that may result from surgery may be more difficult for men to hide, since they don’t wear make-up or style their hair toward their faces, as many women do.

Prior to facial surgery, your surgeon will evaluate the entire head-neck region-hairline, beard growth, and skin condition.

Hair growth and beard growth may play a major role in the outcome of a facelift. If you are balding or have thinning hair, surgical artistry may be required to hide the facelift incision, especially in the temple area. If the hair-bearing skin of your upper neck is pulled behind your ears during surgery, you may find that you must shave behind your ears or the back of your neck. However, sometimes electrolysis can correct this problem. Be sure to discuss these possibilities with your surgeon.

A fatty or “jowly” area beneath the chin is also a concern for many men. In younger patients, liposuction alone may be sufficient to correct the problem. Older patients may require a full facelift and necklift, which may include the removal of excess skin and tightening the platysma muscles, which run down each side of the neck. These muscles are usually thicker in men than they are in women, but do not pose a greater challenge for your plastic surgeon. For more details, see the facelift information page.

Laser Treatment: Shaving must be postponed for about 3 weeks after a laser treatment. Because these procedures strip away the surface layers of skin, you can expect your face to remain sensitive, swollen, and bright pink for several weeks after surgery.

Some men are happy that the beard growth helps conceal the pinkness of their recovering skin — especially if they feel uncomfortable using camouflage make-up.

Men who feel self-conscious about their condition are also advised to give up alcoholic drinks for about 4 weeks. Alcohol causes the areas of treated facial skin to become noticeably red and flushed. For more details, see the laser treatment information page.

Hair transplants: The primary consideration for men contemplating hair-replacement surgery is the time involved. Natural-appearing hair replacement usually requires multiple surgical procedures, with long recovery intervals. A full regimen of hair transplants may last anywhere from 18 months to 2 years or more.

You should be aware that incisions or transplant sites may be noticeable to others, especially in the early stages of the hair transplant process. If your work or lifestyle isn’t compatible with a long treatment period, ask your surgeon about alternatives to hair-transplant options, such as flap surgery or scalp reduction.

Liposuction: The ideal male body shape is considered to be trim and athletic-looking, with broad shoulders and chest, a flat abdomen, and a narrow hip-thigh area. However, as men age, areas of fat tend to accumulate around the abdomen, the flanks (“love handles”), the breast area (a condition called gynecomastia), and along the chin and neck. Men sometimes seek liposuction to remove these fatty areas that are resistant to diet and exercise.

In many cases, liposuction alone can effectively correct these problem areas. Men retain their skin elasticity longer than women do, and the areas of fat beneath the skin tend to be firmer and more vascular than those in women. Because of these and other factors, liposuction in men is usually very effective.

Men who have some loose, hanging skin as well as areas of excess fat may opt for a traditional excision procedure (surgical skin removal) in addition to liposuction. An excision may also be performed on gynecomastia patients whose breast enlargement is made up of mostly glandular tissue, rather than fat.

For men, common sites for liposuction include under the chin and around the waist, and in the reduction of enlarged male breasts, a condition known as gynecomastia. For more details, see the liposuction information page.

Tummy Tuck: A full abdominoplasty or “tummy tuck” may be chosen by men who have hanging abdominal skin (usually the result of massive weight loss), loose abdominal muscles, and/or neglected hernias. It is a major surgical procedure that removes excess fat, tightens the muscles of the abdominal wall, and trims the waistline. Men who have a full abdominoplasty are often surprised at the long recovery period. Some patients aren’t able to return to work up to 4 weeks after surgery. For more details, see the tummy tuck information page.

Muscle-enhancing surgery: In recent years, plastic surgeons have developed ways of improving muscle contour with cosmetic implants and “sculpting” techniques.

Calf implants, which were originally developed to restore leg contour in accident or polio victims, are now sometimes used to create cosmetic fullness in the lower leg. Calf implant surgery consists of the placement of solid silastic implants in pockets overlying the patient’s own muscles.

For the calf implants small incisions are made in the crease behind the knee and the appropriate sized pockets are formed beneath the muscle fascia. Depending upon the extent of enlargement, either tissue expanders or the actual implants are placed within these pockets. If a large degree of enlargement is desired, the tissue expanders, which are balloon-like devices, can be slowly increased in size over the course of several weeks. This gradual expansion allows the area to slowly stretch to a size not possible at the time of the original surgery.

Once the proper size is achieved, the expanders can be replaced by the correct sized implants. If the degree of enlargement is not excessive, the permanent implants can be inserted in one stage. Usually, two implants are placed in each leg over each head of the gastrocnemius.

Recuperation and Restrictions: There is a certain amount of pain and discomfort following the procedure caused by the pressure of the implant until the body adjusts to it. Most patients find walking on their toes or in built-up heels the most comfortable during this adjustment stage. Bed rest is advisable for the first few days with a gradual increase in walking. Upper body workouts can be resumed in one week. Light leg workouts can begin in three weeks, increasing to full workouts in six weeks. The scars behind the knees will be pink at first but will eventually fade.

Possible complications: Shifting of the implants, infection, bruising and, in rare cases, muscle weakness. If activity is resumed too quickly, before the implant is solidly healed in place, it may shift position or even come to the surface. In such cases, healing is allowed to occur and the implant can be replaced in the proper position. If infection should occur, it may be necessary to temporarily remove the implant to allow the infection to be treated; the implant is then replaced. While cases of muscle weakness have been reported they are extremely rare and are usually due to too rapid an increase in size.

The cost is around £3500. There are many qualified surgeons doing this procedure.

Pectoral implants, which are used to build the chests of men with Poland’s syndrome, can also be used to “bulk out” the existing pectoral muscles of healthy men. Pectoral implants are placed beneath the pectorial muscle through an incision in the armpit. The implants come in several sizes so that the appropriate one can be chosen to give the degree of enlargement that is in balance with the rest of the body. The surgery is performed on an ambulatory out-patient basis, with the patient returning home upon recovery from anesthesia. Anesthesia can either be sedation or full general anesthesia.

The cost is around £3500. However, there are few qualified surgeons currently doing this procedure in the UK. Because this procedure is very new and is done infrequently, make sure the surgeon has had experience (at least 8 -10 pec surgeries) before you agree to have it done. Also ask to see before and after photos of pec surgeries he has done.

A small number of surgeons have begun offering their male patients abdominal etching, a new liposuction technique that creates a muscular, rippled appearance in the abdominal area.

Men who consider cosmetic muscle enhancement should keep in mind that these procedures are still relatively new. It is best to seek out a fully qualified plastic surgeon who has received adequate training in these methods.


The days and weeks immediately following your surgery are critical to obtaining a good final result. Therefore, it’s essential that you follow your doctor’s orders to the letter. Following orders may mean taking adequate time off work; wearing bandages or tight compression garments; getting enough rest; staying out of the sun; saying no to alcohol and cigarettes; and avoiding strenuous activity, exercise, sports, and even sex.

However, plastic surgeons understand that it’s sometimes difficult for men, who are programmed by society to be stoic, to remain in bed for very long or to accept help from others during recovery. Studies have shown that men often deny their pain and feel foolish about asking for help after surgery. Men who reject help may have an especially difficult recovery if post-operative depression sets in during the weeks following surgery.